“The station is about giving a voice to the people of North Manchester.”

Young leader at the Factory Youth Zone and pupil at Manchester Communication Academy, Jake Lindley investigates the radio station based at his school.

I spoke to David Kay, 106.6 FM’s Station Manager, and we spoke about the radio and how it involved the community and how the location helped with the community.

My first question was, “Why did you start 106.6 FM?”

David stated, “I didn’t actually start it, it was started back in 2009. The whole idea of community radio is getting involved in the local community and sharing information. Radio is a way of doing that. The station here is about giving a voice to the people of North Manchester.” He then continued to talk about how he volunteered at a radio station at ALL FM for 15 years and that is how he got into doing voluntary work on the radio.

I then continued to say, “So how do you involve the community?”

David said, “Pretty much all our shows will promote what’s going on in the local community. And hopefully, this will encourage people to get more involved in their local community.” He also said that all radio presenters are volunteers and do the work out of there own time.

“So is that the difference between 106.6 and, say, BBC Radio One?”

“Yes, we are all presenters are volunteers whereas on other station the presenters are professionals paid to do it as a job. Having said that I know there are people who been volunteers on community radio and ended up getting paid work as presenters on other stations.”

I then asked David, “On most of your shows, what do you like to talk about?”

“We’ve got lots of different shows. It runs from seven in the morning until nine at night. For instance, on Wednesday we have a volunteering show which is all about opportunities for volunteers in Manchester. We also have a health show where we have someone talking about health issues in North Manchester. And we have an older people’s show.”

David then continued to say that this week the presenters talked about veganism as it’s World Vegan Day and about credit unions and dementia cafes.

I then wanted to know more about why they put the radio in MCA (Manchester Communication Academy) so I asked and David said, “ I don’t know the answer to that. When I joined 18 months ago the station had just moved from the Manchester College at Central Park. And I guess the school, being a communication academy and being very active in the community, thought it would be a good fit to have the station here.”

I next spoke to Natalie Walsh, Community Radio Trainer and Volunteer Co-ordinator and we talked about the volunteering course that is running at 106.6FM and I asked her, “Why did she start the volunteering course?”

Then she state, “We were looking at ways where we could engage with the local people from Moston and Harpurhey.”

“So who can attend the volunteering course?”

“Over 18s and initially anyone who lives in Harpurhey and Moston but we’ve now stretched it out to the surrounding area too.

“The course has already started and will be every Tuesday morning for six weeks. Then on the 5th December, we’ll do a live outside broadcast. If anyone one is interested they can still join in, just get in touch with 106.6FM quickly!”

I then went on to ask, “Why did you start the course?”

Natalie answered, “Well, we need more volunteers and it’s about giving local people new skills and opportunities.”

Natalie then talked about the live show on 5th December between 10-12 at Harpurhey Market near Asda. It’s the first time it’s been done there. 106.6FM encourage people to come down on the day to be interviewed live.

I and Natalie then continued to talk about Forever Manchester and how important it is to 106.6FM. “Our course is funded by Forever Manchester and without them, we couldn’t run it. It’s key to our sustainability.”

If you would like to start on the volunteering course you still can! Just phone Natalie (0161 205 7600) or email natalie@northmanchester.fm

If you want to get in contact with the radio:

Phone: 0161 205 7600
Email: info@northmanchester.fm
Website: www.northmanchester.fm
Twitter: @normanfm1066
Facebook: NMFM 106.6fm

Photos by Jake Lindley and Len Grant